Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province will no longer be importing wine from British Columbia.
Tuesday’s announcement is part of a growing dispute over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would carry more Alberta oilsands bitumen to the B.C. coast.
The B.C. government has said it will restrict increased shipments of bitumen while it further studies the effectiveness of spill response and cleanup.
According to Notley, Alberta imports about 17 million bottles of wine worth $70 million annually from wineries in B.C.
“The wine industry is very important to B.C.,” Notley said at a news conference from the legislature. “Not nearly as important as the energy industry is to Alberta and Canada, but important nonetheless.
“I know a lot of Albertans who love B.C. wine. Quite frankly, I’m one of them.
“So I think those Albertans who are calling for a boycott on B.C. wines asking us to send a message to B.C. on that basis are correct.
” That is why today I am announcing that the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Control Board will put an immediate halt to the import of B.C. wine into Alberta.”
The Alberta premier also said the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission will step up enforcement of sales from B.C. directly to consumers in her province.
Notley said last week Alberta was ending any further talks on power purchase agreements with B.C.
On Tuesday afternoon, Premier John Horgan responded to the wine boycott.
“I urge Alberta to step back from this threatening position. We stand with B.C. wine producers and will respond to the unfair trade actions announced today,” Horgan said in a statement.
Horgan also said the government is working for the people and has “every right to consult with British Columbians on the best possible measures to protect our lands and waters from the potential impacts of diluted bitumen spills.”
“Our consultation on proposed new regulations hasn?t even begun, but Alberta has seen fit to take measures to impact BC businesses,” Horgan said.
New BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson said: “the wine sector is going to be the innocent victim of a petty dispute between two NDP governments.?
He also said the B.C. NDP government will likely lose in court for its pipeline actions.
With files from The Canadian Press